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Australia fronts International Counter Ransomware Taskforce | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

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The International Counter Ransomware Taskforce (ICRTF), envisioned by the International Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI), kicked off its operations with Australia as its inaugural chair and coordinator.

The CRI was first brought together in October 2021 with a virtual meeting of 30 countries, facilitated by the US White House National Security Council.

In November 2022, a second meeting took place where the following was established by the 37 participating members:

  • Hold ransomware actors accountable for their crimes and not provide them safe haven.
  • Combat ransomware actors’ ability to profit from illicit proceeds by implementing and enforcing anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures, including “know your customer” (KYC) rules, for virtual assets and virtual asset service providers.
  • Disrupt and bring to justice ransomware actors and their enablers, to the fullest extent permitted under each partner’s applicable laws and relevant authorities.
  • Collaborate in disrupting ransomware by sharing information, where appropriate and in line with applicable laws and regulations, about the misuse of infrastructure to launch ransomware attacks to ensure national cyber infrastructure is not being used in ransomware attacks.

The intention of setting up a taskforce also originated from this second summit with the goal to develop cross-sectoral tools, and exchange cyber threat intelligence to increase early warning capabilities and prevent attacks. 

The taskforce would also help consolidate policy and best practice frameworks. It was established in the Australian Department of Home Affairs’ Cyber and Critical Technology Coordination Centre.

The ICRTF will act as a medium for CRI to connect with industry for defensive and disruptive threat sharing and actions. The cyber security projects under ICRTF will be initiated in response to requests for assistance from members, and support opportunities to disrupt malicious actors on a case-by-case basis, Australia Department of Home Affairs said in a statement.

Reports on tools, tactics, and procedures to improve awareness of members will also be expected from the ICRTF.

Australia’s leadership against ransomware

This initiative is taking place under the current Australian government, which after coming to power in May 2022 was quick to assign cybersecurity as a standalone portfolio with Clare O’Neil as the Minister for Cyber Security. However, cybersecurity isn’t O’Neil’s only responsibility, she is also the Minister of Home Affairs.


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National Cyber Security